Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 6:1
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” – Galatians 6:1
Paul is laying out here how to address fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when they fall into sin. Now this could be by surprise or ignorance, not realizing they were sinning, or out of the stress of temptation where they gave in to a sinful action. Paul lays out how, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to respond to those who find themselves in this predicament.
He starts out by stating “we who are spiritual”. What is meant here are those who have not given in to these temptations but continued to live as they ought. Theologian Joseph Benson says it like this. “Who have received the Spirit of truth, grace, and wisdom, and who continue to live and walk by and in the Spirit.” This is our responsibility while here on earth. The more truly spiritual we are, the more we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ to grow more in their walk, and in this instance, to help them understand the error of their ways and guide them back to where they ought to be. And this is to be done in love and gentleness. We are not to yell at them, embarrass or ridicule them, but we are to work to restore them in love and compassion. We are to address the issue with them in an attitude of meekness and humility. Yes, we are to correct them. However, this must be done in love and not in arrogance and hurtfulness. Our ultimate goal is not to shame them, but to bring them to repentance.
And taking this one step further, we must look at ourselves so that we will not be tempted. We must be careful we do not allow ourselves to be tempted in the same manner or tempted to come across as other than gentle and loving. This is a distinct warning that we look at ourselves as to carefully observe our own spirit and conduct, lest our eyes be fixed not on ourselves, but exclusively on those of their brother. And Satan can and will work against us in order disrupt our work for God.
Jesus said it like this, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17. It is important that we do all we can to bring correction to a sinful brother or sister and bring them to repentance. We cannot force the issue, but in love we must do what we can, being in prayer the whole time.
And finally, Paul wrote the following to the Church in Rome. “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Romans 15:1-3. Our focus as strong Christians are to take the responsibility to build up the weaker members of this body and not focus entirely on ourselves. This is what Paul is saying in this focus verse, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. Just as Jesus did not please himself but accepted the roles of dying for us. This, we also should die to ourselves for the sake of the body. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.